One of the largest democratic processes regularly undertook, the elections for the European parliament span 28 countries and 400 million voters, choosing representatives for over 500 million people. Constantly looking to improve trust, transparency and convenience in those elections, the EU has released the latest white paper on the viability of digital voting systems. Here they look at blockchain as a potential solution and compare building a blockchain based platform compared to an entirely bespoke system. Noting the cost saving and security of blockchain as significant aspects that work in its favor.
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The EU parliament represents over 500 million people across 28 different countries. Each country holds elections every five years to choose their representatives to sit in that parliament, making it one of the world’s largest democratic processes. As such, refining the elections is something often looked at by the European Union, efficiency savings here could make a real difference.
The most recent concept looked at for improving election processes, announced by the European Union Think Tank researcher Phillip Nicholas Boucher, was the possibility of using blockchain to power these Europe wide elections. Released on 29th September the white paper, authored by Boucher himself, looks at whether the Blockchain technology could be leveraged to bring positive changes to voting systems while building trust in the voting process itself.
In the paper, Boucher writes "Many experts agree that e-voting would require revolutionary developments in security systems. The debate is whether blockchain will represent a transformative or merely incremental development, and what its implications could be for the future of democracy”.
While the paper also looks at new, bespoke electronic systems, it also asks the question of whether blockchain is already the solution for electronic voting, providing security and transparency to give voters trust in the system. Trust is mentioned often, as the author recognizes the biggest challenge facing electronic voting is for voters to be sure that their electronic vote will actually count. A button press produces nothing tangible like a traditional voting card, and it is that disconnect that is the biggest hurdle to widespread voter acceptance of a digital system.
A blockchain solution, as Boucher notes, would be a much cheaper system to develop than something entirely bespoke, simply because the framework is already there, indeed, he suggests “piggybacking” on the Bitcoin blockchain as the most cost effective option available.
Whatever the eventual outcome for electronic voting, it is clear that blockchain being involved in these conversations is significant for the digital currency industry. The acknowledgement of the robust infrastructure and secure nature of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, and the viability of the platform, all add credibility to the currencies themselves and the industry as a whole.